King Features Syndicate

Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 9CALIFORNIA LIFE


New paint ranks among the least-expensive ways to make a room feel fresh. But painting a whole room can seem overwhelming. It may be too much change – or too much work.

Start smaller and rethink the color of your woodwork. Decorating expert Kevin Sharkey of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia suggests that simply painting the woodwork can make the entire room feel like it's a completely different color.

"You can paint the woodwork or just the doors, and it can create a whole new feeling in the room," Sharkey said.

A fresh coat of paint on doors and frames makes the whole room look clean and crisp, too.

"Or paint the ceiling," he added. "If you want to make a room feel sunny, choose a yellow on the lightest end of the spectrum, and your room will always feel sunny."

Paints come in different finishes. Choose the right one for the specific job with these Martha tips, courtesy the Home Depot:

Flat or matte paint has no sheen and absorbs more light than it reflects. It hides flaws extremely well, which makes it the first choice for ceilings and new construction. It's often used on drywall to make flaws less noticeable.

Eggshell paint has a slight gloss and is relatively easy to clean, making it ideal for kids' rooms, family areas and hallways.

Semigloss will resist moisture and provide durable shine; use for bathrooms, kitchens and moldings.

High-gloss paints are the most lustrous finish; use for window frames, doors, cabinets and furniture.

For more tips, click on and follow the links to "Paint Like a Pro."


• After storms, remember to dump accumulated rainwater out of saucers under pots or other places it may have pooled. That stagnant water can become breeding "ponds" for mosquitoes. Other spots to watch: buckets, flowerpots, birdbaths and old tires.

A little warm weather after rain often brings mosquitoes out this time of year, according to the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District. These are hungry mosquitoes that had been hibernating. They're looking for that first bite to begin their life cycle.

Don't let them get started. For more tips, click on

• Get started on an early spring vegetable garden. Plant seed for beets, Swiss chard, collards, endive, fennel, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, peas, radicchio, radish and turnips.

• Transplant seedlings for broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce and leeks.

• Indoors, start tomatoes, eggplant and peppers from seed. They'll be ready to transplant outdoors when the weather warms in late April or early May.

• In the flower garden, plant seed for baby's breath, calendula, California poppy, cornflower, forget-me-not, larkspur, nasturtium, nicotiana and snapdragon.

– Debbie Arrington

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